Geoff Johnson is an agricultural, industrial photographer with a deep love for Americana, who hails from Omaha, Nebraska. Working in the industry for 21 years, Geoff immediately went to photography school upon high school graduation, and began working in a local commercial photo studio before graduating college. Geoff grew his client base working as a second, and then building his way up to first, assistant. While there wasn’t so much a moment of breaking into the business, it was more of a progression that happened on its own.
Photography school was a wonderful opportunity for Geoff to attend, but he learned that you gain a tremendous amount of knowledge in the industry working as an assistant. Photographers are problem solvers, using both the left and right sides of our brains at the same time. The duality of being a working photographer was something Geoff only could have learned from doing, rather than just sitting in the classroom.
Shooting professionally since 2000, Geoff is hired primarily for industrial and agricultural work through ad agencies. He creates large image branding libraries for these companies in order to accurately show off these wide ranging lifestyles. Having the capability to not only shoot still imagery, but also motion for his clients, adds an extra edge to Geoff’s work which draws repeat clients again and again.
Even though Geoff’s work exists for the most part in the world of the proud American worker, he also works on his own personal projects to keep his work fresh and ever moving. He recently had his first exhibition of photographs at a gallery in Omaha of his project “Behind the Door”. Inspired by his childhood growing up in his mother’s home, who was a hoarder, Geoff shines a light on the children who are trapped in these situations all across America and the world. Hoarding is very sensationalized by television, but the children of these people get lost in the mix.
Going back to her house after she passed, Geoff recreated scenes from his childhood in this untraditional home he grew up in, which was still in the same state as it was when he left at age 17. Originally he was going to cast children for the images, but thought it would be even more personal to have his and his sister’s children star in the roles. The children were composited into the photographs due to the toxic state of the house. Geoff didn’t want the images to be about his mother, but instead what it was like as kids growing up amongst hoarding.
The exhibition included 10 images printed at 40 x 60 inches. The gallery space was narrow, making the viewer feel like they’re in the actual space as they’re practically on top of the work when navigating the space. And if he is to show the work in another show, he’d hope to print it even bigger.